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Seborrheic Keratosis - Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Removal and Causes

Updated on December 8, 2013

Seborrheic Keratosis Pictures

What is Seborrheic Keratosis?

This medical condition is a non-cancerous growth on your skin and is very common. This skin growth happens in many people at some time during their life but it is usually found on older adults. It is rare that children have this medical condition. Breaking the word down, "seborrheic" means greasy and "keratosis" means skin becoming thickened. It can appear in clusters or as a single skin growth and can be very unsightly. They will usually happen on your face, chest, back, stomach, and shoulders. You will not find them on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. Seborrheic keratosis is not contagious and cannot be spread to other people. They aso do not develop into melanoma.

Symptoms

When a person has seborrheic keratosis they usually have a wart-like growth or waxy appearance. Other symptoms may include:

  • Can start out as a small rough area.
  • They can range in color from light tan to black or brown
  • Can be oval or round in shape
  • Has a characteristic look that it was pasted on because only the top layers of your skin are affected.
  • Can be slightly elevated or flat with a surface that appears scaly.
  • The sizes of seborrheic keratosis can vary from very small to more than one inch.
  • They may itch
  • They are not painful but can be bothersome depending on where they are located and the size of them.

Important Note: Do not scratch, pick at them, or rub them as this can lead to bleeding and inflammation. It can also lead to infection in rare cases.

Causes

What causes seborrheic keratosis is not known but there are instances that researchers feel can cause this medical condition. Some of those possible instances may be:

  • Hereditary may play a role because they tend to run in some families.
  • Do to an increase with age, usually over the age of forty.
  • During pregnancy there may be an eruption of seborrheic keratosis because of medical problems or hormonal changes.
  • Because of hormone replacement therapy
  • Due to exposure to the sun.

Treatment

Usually no treatment is necessary for seborrheic keratosis unless they begin to irritate you and then your dermatologist may want to remove them. They can become irritated and start to bleed and possibly become inflamed and infected if your clothes rub against them. They can also be removed if you do not like how they feel or look. This type of skin growth is not deeply rooted so when you have them removed it will usually not leave a scar and is a fairly simple operation.

Removal

  • Using cryosurgery which is to use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin growth but if it is a big thick growth it may not work. It may also cause the treated skin to lighten up some. This is one of the most effective ways to remove seborrheic keratosis.
  • Using curettage which is when the dermatologist will scrape the skin with a special tool. Sometimes this method is used along with cryosurgery when treating flat or thin skin growths. It can also be used with electrocautery.
  • Using electrocautery which can be used with curettage or by itself and is effective in removing this type of skin growth. It is not done correctly it can leave a scar plus it may take longer to remove the seborrheic keratosis than any of the other methods that can be used.
  • Using ablation which is when the dermatologist uses a laser to vaporize the growth. There are many different types of laser treatments that can be used. To help concentrate the laser light on the right area the dermatologist may apply pigment to the skin growth in order to make it more effective.
  • Chemical peels that are gentle to the skin such as glycolic acid or alpha hydroxyl acid that will remove the top layer of your skin and expose layer that is rejuvenated.
  • Using glycolic acid peels like KAVI product which is briefly applied each week to help promote new skin growth, which can take six to eight weeks.

After a person has them removed your skin could be lighter in that spot but over time it becomes less noticeable but the lighter area may be permanent. Typically if you have them removed they will not reappear in the same spot but can appear in other areas.

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